English does Sound Fun after all!
I started doing the ESF with Nancy when she was a sixth grader at Primary school. She had already done some preliminary work with another teacher who taught a different series at the time.
Nancy was rather negatively disposed towards the idea of learning English when I first met her, which was perfectly understood with her dyslexia differences tormenting her. She was also a bit reluctant to start a new series from scratch and I had to convince her that her efforts would pay off in the- not so- long run! At some point she even complained that the book was too “childish” for her age and that the rest of the kids at school were at a higher level, which made her lose her confidence in the method. I had to think of a way to make her realize how beneficial ESF was for her case. So I asked her to read a word which was unknown to her-“spite”- and of course she pronounced it correctly. Then I asked her to do the same with her friends at school to find out how many of them would read it correctly; guess what? no one did. Nancy was thrilled to find out that no one had passed our little “test” despite their being at a higher level than her. That was good enough to boost her confidence and keep her going.
However, I had a hard time getting her to speak; she would not speak English unless it was required in the controlled and the less controlled exercises we did in the course of the lesson; free speech was out of the question! I did not give up though. I kept using English throughout the lesson and only resorted to her mother tongue when it was absolutely necessary. It worked! After two years of complete absence of freer speech she finally started to speak in perfectly good English! I was over the moon!
When we finished the ESF Series we went right to a B Senior/A1 conventional Coursebook. She had some difficulty adjusting to the level at first but things worked out fine in the end. We skipped Pre- Lower Class/B1+ altogether as she was coming up pretty fast and all the hard work she was doing really paid off- as I had told her it would! She was also bent on sitting for B2 Exams in her first year of High School Senior, which is where we are right now. Her potential of passing the FCE exam is pretty high and I wouldn’t be surprised if she passed with flying colours. Next year she intends to start the CPE Course.
Nancy is a very hard-working student and it’s a pleasure to be her tutor. However, I believe that the ESF Series we did together has laid solid foundations for her subsequent progress in EFL studies.
A big Thanks to you Anne Margaret and Anastasia!
Εnglish Language Teacher